Text: S.2240 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (07/23/2019)

[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 2240 Introduced in Senate (IS)]


  1st Session
                                S. 2240

           To promote digital citizenship and media literacy.



                             July 23, 2019

  Ms. Klobuchar (for herself, Mr. Bennet, Ms. Smith, and Mr. Peters) 
introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the 
          Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


                                 A BILL

           To promote digital citizenship and media literacy.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Digital Citizenship and Media 
Literacy Act''.


    Congress finds the following:
            (1) People in the United States rely on information from 
        mass media, social media, and digital media to make decisions 
        about all aspects of social, economic, and political life, 
        including products and services consumption, employment, career 
        and professional development, family and leisure choices, 
        health and wellness, and democratic engagement. Ensuring that 
        people in the United States possess the skills to make these 
        informed decisions based on media begins early in life.
            (2) Adversaries from Russia, China, and Iran are using 
        information warfare to influence democracies across the world, 
        and terrorist organizations often use digital communications to 
        recruit members. The Unites States can fight these influences 
        by ensuring that citizens of the United States possess the 
        necessary skills to discern disinformation and misinformation 
        and think critically about their digital activities.
            (3) Influence campaigns by foreign and domestic groups 
        reached tens of millions of voters during the 2016 and 2018 
        elections with racially and divisively targeted messages. The 
        preservation of elections free of foreign influence is of 
        utmost importance, and therefore Congress must take steps to 
        counter influence campaigns with media literacy.
            (4) Media literacy education is critical to allow young 
        people to make informed decisions about products and services, 
        education, health and wellness, and democratic decisions 
        associated with public policy. Media literacy education must be 
        inclusive and accessible for all students, including students 
        with disabilities. Media literacy empowers young people and 
        gives them the agency to make informed decisions about their 
        future, advertisements, the use of controlled substances, 
        nutrition, and physical health. Equipping students with the 
        skills to make informed decisions in these areas contributes to 
        the betterment of mental health and public health.
            (5) A successful and inclusive media literacy program must 
        be directed at students beginning in kindergarten and should 
        continue throughout the completion of postsecondary education. 
        Learning to critically analyze and create media is a lifelong 
        process that can be developed by integrating media literacy 
        competencies into academic curriculum across content areas and 
            (6) Media literacy also allows young people to develop the 
        critical thinking skills that will help them become informed 
        voters. The right to vote is a fundamental right afforded to 
        United States citizens by the Constitution. The unimpeded free 
        exercise of this right is essential to the functioning of our 
        democracy. The process to protect our democracy begins with 
        educating young people in the United States to ensure that the 
        young people possess the skills to engage in civic activities, 
        engage with communities, and eventually become informed voters.


    (a) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Esea definitions.--The terms ``child with a 
        disability'', ``local educational agency'', ``State educational 
        agency'', ``specialized instructional support personnel'', and 
        ``universal design for learning'' have the meanings given those 
        terms in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
        Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).
            (2) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' means--
                    (A) a State educational agency; or
                    (B) a local educational agency.
            (3) Digital citizenship.--The term ``digital citizenship'' 
        means the ability to--
                    (A) safely, responsibly, and ethically use 
                communication technologies and digital information 
                technology tools and platforms;
                    (B) create and share media content using principles 
                of social and civic responsibility and with awareness 
                of the legal and ethical issues involved; and
                    (C) participate in the political, economic, social, 
                and cultural aspects of life related to technology, 
                communications, and the digital world by consuming and 
                creating digital content, including media.
            (4) Media literacy.--The term ``media literacy'' means the 
        ability to--
                    (A) access relevant and accurate information 
                through media in a variety of forms;
                    (B) critically analyze media content and the 
                influences of different forms of media;
                    (C) evaluate the comprehensiveness, relevance, 
                credibility, authority, and accuracy of information;
                    (D) make educated decisions based on information 
                obtained from media and digital sources;
                    (E) operate various forms of technology and digital 
                tools; and
                    (F) reflect on how the use of media and technology 
                may affect private and public life.
            (5) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Education.
    (b) In General.--The Secretary shall establish a program to promote 
media literacy, through which the Secretary shall award grants to 
eligible entities to enable those eligible entities to carry out the 
activities described in this subsection (d).
    (c) Application.--An eligible entity that desires a grant under 
this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time 
and in such manner as the Secretary may require, including, at a 
            (1) a description of the activities the eligible entity 
        intends to carry out with the grant funds;
            (2) an estimate of the costs associated with such 
        activities; and
            (3) such other information and assurances as the Secretary 
        may require.
    (d) Use of Funds.--
            (1) State educational agencies.--
                    (A) In general.--An eligible entity that is a State 
                educational agency receiving a grant under this Act 
                shall use grant funds to carry out one or more of the 
                following activities:
                            (i) Creating and supporting a media 
                        literacy advisory council to--
                                    (I) provide recommendations about 
                                digital citizenship and media literacy 
                                    (II) identify barriers and 
                                opportunities for implementing media 
                                literacy in kindergarten through grade 
                                12 in public schools in the State for 
                                all students, including students who 
                                are children with disabilities;
                                    (III) identify best practices and 
                                effective models for media literacy 
                                education, including incorporating 
                                universal design for learning and 
                                providing additional accommodations for 
                                students who are children with 
                                disabilities when needed;
                                    (IV) identify existing models of 
                                curriculum and existing policies in 
                                different States that are aimed at 
                                overcoming the barriers identified in 
                                subclause (II);
                                    (V) gather data or conduct research 
                                to assess the media literacy and 
                                digital citizenship competencies of 
                                students, teachers, or specialized 
                                instructional support personnel;
                                    (VI) submit a report to the State 
                                educational agency containing findings 
                                and recommendations regarding the items 
                                identified under this clause; and
                                    (VII) annually update those 
                                findings and recommendations.
                            (ii) Assisting local educational agencies 
                        in the development of units of instruction on 
                        media literacy, either as a new subject or as a 
                        part of the existing curriculum.
                            (iii) Assisting local agencies in 
                        developing means of evaluating student learning 
                        in media literacy.
                            (iv) Assisting local agencies in developing 
                        or providing professional development for 
                        teachers that relates to media literacy.
                    (B) Media literacy advisory council.--
                            (i) Members.--The media literacy advisory 
                        council described in subparagraph (A)(i) shall 
                        include experts in media literacy, including 
                        academic experts, individuals from nonprofit 
                        organizations, individuals with expertise in 
                        education for students who are children with 
                        disabilities, teachers, librarians, 
                        representatives from parent organizations, 
                        educators, administrators, students, and other 
                            (ii) Diversity of representation.--Such 
                        membership shall include representation from 
                        rural and urban local educational agencies, 
                        small and large schools, high- and low-resource 
                        schools, teachers of students with 
                        disabilities, and schools in communities from 
                        diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
                    (C) Guidelines.--
                            (i) In general.--A State educational agency 
                        that creates a media literacy advisory council 
                        under subparagraph (A)(i) shall, only after 
                        consideration of the findings and 
                        recommendations described in subparagraph 
                        (A)(i)(I) and (VI), develop and publish on the 
                        State educational agency website inclusive 
                        digital citizenship and media literacy 
                        guidelines for students in kindergarten through 
                        grade 12 in public schools in the State.
                            (ii) Requirements.--The guidelines 
                        described in clause (i) shall be designed to 
                        develop media literacy and digital citizenship 
                        competencies by promoting students'--
                                    (I) research and information 
                                    (II) critical thinking and problem 
                                solving skills;
                                    (III) technology operations and 
                                    (IV) information and technological 
                                    (V) concepts of media 
                                representation and stereotyping;
                                    (VI) understanding of explicit and 
                                implicit media messages;
                                    (VII) understanding of values and 
                                points of view that are included and 
                                excluded in media content;
                                    (VIII) understanding of how media 
                                may influence ideas and behaviors;
                                    (IX) understanding of the 
                                importance of obtaining information 
                                from multiple media sources and 
                                evaluating sources for quality;
                                    (X) understanding how information 
                                on digital platforms can be altered 
                                through algorithms, editing, and 
                                augmented reality; and
                                    (XI) ability to create media in 
                                civically and socially responsible 
            (2) Local educational agencies.--An eligible entity that is 
        a local educational agency receiving a grant under this Act 
        shall use grant funds to carry out one or more of the following 
                    (A) Incorporating digital citizenship and media 
                literacy into the existing curriculum (across content 
                and disciplinary areas) or establishing new educational 
                opportunities to learn about media literacy.
                    (B) Employing specialized instructional support 
                personnel, such as a librarian or other personnel who 
                can provide instructional services in media literacy.
                    (C) Providing funding to educators who are carrying 
                out activities described in subparagraph (A) to further 
                their professional development in relation to media 
                literacy, including funding for traveling to media 
                literacy conferences to share knowledge with regional 
                and national stakeholders.
                    (D) Other activities, including student led 
                efforts, to support, develop, or promote the 
                implementation of media literacy education programs, 
                policies, teacher preparation, curriculum, or 
    (e) Reporting.--
            (1) Reports by eligible entities.--Not later than 1 year 
        after the date the eligible entity receives grant funds under 
        this Act, each eligible entity shall prepare and submit to the 
        Secretary a report describing the activities the eligible 
        entity carried out using grant funds and the effectiveness of 
        those activities.
            (2) Report by the secretary.--Not later than 90 days after 
        the Secretary receives the report described in paragraph (1) 
        from the last eligible entity to submit such a report, the 
        Secretary shall prepare and submit a report to Congress 
        describing the activities carried out under this Act and the 
        effectiveness of those activities.


    It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary should establish and 
maintain a list of eligible entities that receive a grant under this 
Act, and individuals designated by those eligible entities as 
participating individuals. The Secretary should make that list 
available to those eligible entities and participating individuals in 
order to promote communication and further exchange of information 
regarding sound digital citizenship and media literacy practices among 
recipients of a grant under this Act.


    There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act 
$20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2020, 2022, and 2024.

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